To say that fans are passionate about their gaming consoles would be an understatement. Ask anyone who has posted an article that states that one is better than another and watch the flaming comments follow.
In the past week we have had articles on the PS 4, The Xbox One, and the Wii U, and it seems that the fervor amongst fans is at an all time high months after the launch of the new systems.
Rather than point out the pros and cons of any system and point out what they have done right or wrong, I thought it would be good to point out five things that each system can and should do in order to improve their systems and give the customers more for their money.
I will be listing the consoles in order of release not out of preference and while I know some of the suggestions may already be in the works, I included them in order to have a more comprehensive list.
Nintendo has a very big year ahead of them in 2014. Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze, Mario Kart 8, Super Smash Bros, etc will help tell the tale of if the Wii U still has some legs in it or if it is destined to fade and force Nintendo to evaluate if they wish to stay in the console market or simply focus on their mobile platforms and perhaps make the leap of creating content for their rivals systems.
With that in mind, here are my suggestions for the system.
1. More exclusives that push the boundaries.
More Mario, Donkey Kong and Zelda games are great and will appeal to the core audience, but what we need to see are new franchises perhaps ones with a more Mature edge to them that will help Nintendo try to appeal to the more Hardcore gamers out there.
1. More online content.
While Nintendo has done better in this area with the Wii U, the social network functions and online play capability of their games is still lacking compared to the other titles. I would love to see them create a matchmaking and ranking system for their games and put multiplay as a focus on many of their games. Imagine how much better Zombie U would have been with a real multiplay option rather than the tactical mode that was offered. A co-op mode with the ability to voice and picture chat with your fellow players would be huge.
1.Show off the strengths of the systems graphics.
When I was first shown the Wii U almost three years ago at E3, I was shocked at how average the graphics looked. I saw how much better the games by third party developers look but Nintendo needs to make sure their franchise exclusives have cutting edge graphics rather than graphics that while brighter, look dated and not on par with the PS 3 and Xbox 360 let alone the new systems.
The Wii U has the power, and Nintendo needs to show it off.
1. Be more innovative. Nintendo needs to leap forward and realize that the days of 2D side scrollers are in the past. They have done a good step forward with some recent titles but I n many ways, the gameplay of several of their games is similar to what we had with the early systems. Lets see some really out of the box thinking and take the gameplay to new levels as platform jumping can get old.
2.Put the focus back on fun. The Wii was a huge hit as it was a fun and innovative system that put the focus on group interaction and allowed people who did not play games to get behind it. How many people had Wii Bowling or Tennis matches with family and friends as well as people who had not played console games before?
Standing and turning gets tiring after a while and that makes playing some of their games tricky over an extended time.
Sony is riding high with their system but there is always room for improvement, so here are some suggestions we have.
1. 3D and improved Blu-ray. They patched this feature into the PS 3 so I am guessing that it is only a matter of time before we see this on the PS 4 but it would be nice to know that it is coming.
Sony sold a 3D monitor for the PS 3 and it would be nice to play 3D games with the graphics and power for those who have a 3D TV or monitor.
1. More exclusives. I know this is an easy one but it is a simple one for me to include. If you want people to buy your system over your competition, then build a better system and have an abundance of exclusive games that people will want to play. Sony seems to be working on many and we expect E3 to reveal several great new titles.
2.Backwards compatibility. I know they have their cloud based service coming and that hardware differences may make this tricky, but folks who paid for a game once should not have to pay again to play on a new system in my opinion. I would like to see free or discounted cloud access to those who already own a game.
Valve had a change of attitude towards the PS 3 and has worked better with Sony in recent years. I am sure this will not happen due to the Steam Box but imagine if PS 4 users could access and play the amazing PC games that are on Steam. The system has the power, let’s see it happen.
1. Better camera and touchpad integration.
There is an HD camera and a very nice tactile pad on the Dualshock 4. Lets see Sony really make use of the features and provide a new level of interaction for upcoming games. I am not saying to go on full motion control but being able to integrate your voice and video into the gameplay experience would be great.
Imagine the Battlefield 4 Commanders Mode where your own voice and video were what the troops under your command see.
1. Resolve the graphical issues and add system optimization.
I know this is a hot topic for many gamers but the fact is that 1080 is the HD standard and regardless of how well a game looks and plays, many will say they are not getting the best if the games they want to play are not displaying this and the rival system is.
As long as Sony has this to hold over them, the Xbox One will be seen as the lesser of the two systems.
1. More exclusives that people actually want to play.
All we hear about is TitanFall but honestly, if you have a game worthy PC or an Xbox 360, there is little reason to buy an Xbox One for the game.
I said prior to launch, that I need to see more than a new Halo and Gears of War game to get excited so true top flight exclusives are key.
E3 will be big here as I am curious to see what they have in store.
1. Have a clear plan for the Kinect.
They required it for use with the system then did an about face when consumers balked. The fact is, it is here and Microsoft needs to decide if they want to scrap it or really feature it with games. So far that has been a tricky proposition as honestly, outside of the Dance Central series, does anyone really use this for most of their games on the 360?
1. Price adjustment.
I am sure this is in the works, but as long as the system is more than the PS 4 they will be fighting an uphill battle. There have been suggestions of a cheaper unit that will not have a Kinect and perhaps remove the Blu-ray drive as well.
That being said, I am sure Sony has a counter-move in place as I am sure they expect Microsoft to do this. I also wonder if gamers will be quick to accept a drive less system as it will limit their options when it comes to buying games and will make used games impossible which many believe is what Microsoft has wanted to do all along.
1. Give consumers faith and a clear direction.
There have been several Xbox 360 fans that have jumped ship to Sony. Microsoft has back tracked on several of the Xbox One features and with a new guy in charge, many wonder if he will be as committed to the system as his predecessor was.
Microsoft needs to clearly state a focused agenda for the system and stick to it. Do not say one thing and then do another. Admit mistakes were made and what they will be doing to fix them, and outline a clear course of action going forward.
Regardless of what the future holds for the three systems, I think we can all agree that 2014 and especially the upcoming conventions will be very interesting and hotly analyzed and scrutinized